Like a cup of cocoa warming you up from the inside out, Hallmark Channel holiday movies are a beloved part of the holiday season for many people. Although these feel-good flicks may seek to spread holiday cheer, the reality is that the storylines in these holiday films aren’t very inclusive.
Hallmark Christmas classics like “Christmas at Graceland,” “Christmas at Pemberly Manor,” “Finding Christmas” and “The North Pole,” don’t feature much diversity when it comes to representing LGBTQ relationships.
But now, Hallmark Channel is aiming to change all of that. This holiday season, Hallmark will unveil 40 new holiday films, and they have promised viewers that LGBTQ characters will finally be featured on screen.
“Diversity and inclusion [are] a top priority for us, and we look forward to making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors,” said the VP of network program publicity at Hallmark’ s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, George Zaralidis.
The public statement came after people on social media began pointing out that none of Hallmark’s upcoming holiday films featured LGBTQ characters.
Jarett Wieselman, senior entertainment editor at BuzzFeed News, pointed out this massive oversight on his Twitter account:
40 new Hallmark Christmas movies, not a single queer lead pic.twitter.com/PFRWstBSMN
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) July 15, 2020
During the 2019 holiday season, Hilarie Burton shared similar sentiments about Hallmark’s lack of diversity, posting in a Twitter thread that she tried to get the media company to be more inclusive, and her efforts were blocked:
Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was “let go” from back in January. I had insisted on a LGBTQ character, an interracial couple and diverse casting. I was polite, direct and professional. But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my
— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) December 15, 2019
Burton explained in her tweets that the Hallmark teamwould not address her desire to add more diversity to the unnamed film she was working on with the channel. Hence, she decided to pull out of the project, and she noted that she was fortunate to be able to forego a paycheck, which is a privilege not many people have.
Now, it seems Hallmark is finally beginning to understand that viewers want to see movies that feature people of all races and sexual orientations. Let’s hope the 2020 holiday season will bring us Hallmark movies that reflect the need for representation and inclusivity.